Slike strani
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

manner; expelling the Roman governors, and setting up a native form of government at their own liberty. This revolt of Britain and the Celtic tribes happened during the time of the usurpation of Constantine, when the barbarians had made an incursion through his neglect of the affairs of the empire.”

This is the statement of a contemporary historian, for Zosimus died A. D. 420 ; and though it does not enter into particulars as much as could be wished, it is of incomparably greater value than all the dreaming of Gildas and the monkish writers about the " groans of the Britons,” whom they represent as the most imbecile of the nations of antiquity. It is pleasing, however, to find historians of such eminence as Gibbon, Mr. Sharon Turner, and Dr. Lingard, giving to the testimony of Zosimus the respect to which it is entitled; and they proceed to describe the state of Britain after its emancipation, in terms perfectly consistent with the information to be gleaned from the Welsh authorities. Gibbon indeed quotest a passage from Procopius to show that the Romans could never recover possesssion of the island, which continued from that time under the government of tyrants; and by the latter term, in the original úto Tupavvous, which is not always used in a bad sense, it is obvious the writer intended to designate the native chieftains. From the Triads it would

that the emperor Maximus left a son in Britain, called Owain ab Macsen Wledig, who was by national convention elected to the chief sovereignty of the Britons. It is said that under him Britain was restored to a state of independence, and the annual tribute which had been paid to the Romans from the time of Julius Cæsar was discontinued. It is added that the Romans, under pretence of consenting to these proceedings, withdrew their troops, and

appear

* Zosimi Historiarum Lib. VI. Cap. 5, 6. + Decline and Fall, Chap. XXXI, Notes 177 and 186.

brought away at the same time the best of the Britons who were able to bear arms, by which means the country was so weakened that it became a prey to its enemies.*_In this traditional account may be perceived a confused notion of the events which took place as related by Zosimus; and if the Roman and Greek writers make no mention of so distinguished a person as Owain the son of Maximus, it was because all communication with Britain had been intercepted. One of the Triadst states that Owain was raised to the dignity of Pendragon or chief sovereign of the Britons, though he was not an elder, from which it may be concluded that he was a young man at the time of his election. The editor of the Cambrian Biography says that he was also called Owain Finddu, and that he has been considered a Saint by his countrymen; but there are no churches existing which bear his name.

[TABLE V.]

MACSEN WLEDIG married ELEN, daughter of Euddaf.
Owain
Peblig

Ednyfed

Cystenuyn
Madog

Dyfnwal Hen
Gafran
Cedig

Gortynion Gwrwst Briodor

[blocks in formation]

According to the Welsh accounts, one of the most distinguished chieftains of this time was Cunedda Wledig. His territory is said to have been in the north, an expression used indefinitely for any part of the tract reaching from the Humber to the Clyde; the particular district is not mentioned, but owing to the remoteness of the country from Wales it cannot be expected that the tradition should be precise. In right of his mother, Gwawl, Cunedda was also entitled to the headship of the clan of Coel Godebog in the south ; Ceneu and Mor, the proper representatives of that tribe, being ecclesiastics.* Soon after the departure of Maximus to the continent, a people, called Gwyddyl Ffichti, or Irish Picts, to distinguish them the Picts of the north, landed on the western coasts of Britain, and occupied the whole of North Wales, as well as the Dimetian counties of South Wales. At a later time, the northern Picts made one of their irruptions into the country of their more civilized neighbours; and Cunedda, being unable to resist them, was forced to seek an asylum to the south ward. The probability is that he retired to his maternal kindred. He was the father of a numerous family ; and his sons, being reduced to the condition of adventurers, undertook the enterprise of delivering Wales from the Irish marauders. In this it is presumed they were assisted by the rightful inhabitants; and they were so far successful that they recovered a great part of South Wales, and the whole of North Wales, except Anglesey and some portions of Denbighshire. The country recovered was divided between them, and they became the founders of so many clans which gave names to the districts that they occupied, some of which names are retained to this day. Thus Ceredig had Ceredigion, comprising the present county of Cardigan with a great part of Carmarthenshire; the word, Ceredigion, being the plural of Ceredig, and meaning his followers. Arwystl had Arwystli, or the western part of Montgomeryshire. Dunod had Dunodig, or the northern part of Merioneth with part of Carnarvonshire. Edeyrn had Edeyrnion, and Mael had Dinmael, both in the eastern part of Merioneth. Coel had Coeleion, and Dogfael had Dogfeilin, both in Denbighshire. Rhufon had Rhufoniog, in Denbigh and Carnarvonshires. Einion had Caereinion in Montgomery, and Oswal had Osweilin on the borders of Shropshire. Tibion, the eldest son of Cunedda, died in the Isle of Man; but his son, Meirion, was one of these adventurers, and had Cantref Meirion. The date which may be assigned to this expulsion of the Irish is the period between A. D. 420 and 430.*

* Triads 21 and 34. Third Series, Myv. Archaiology.

+ No. 17. Third Series. Qu. Was not his disqualification owing to the foreign origin of his father, which prevented him from being the elder of a clan of native Britons ?

* Saints.

+ In this statement the Welsh authorities are confirmed by the Irish historians, who relate that an invasion of Britain, on an extensive and formidable scale, took place towards the close of the fourth century under the auspices of a king of Ireland, called Nial of the Nine Hostages.-Moore's History of Ireland, Chap. VII.

I The present counties of Cardigan, Pembroke, and Carmarthen.

Another chieftain, contemporary with Owain ab Macsen and Cunedda, was Brychan, the regulus of Brecknock. It is said that his mother was Marchell, the daughter of Tudur or Tewdrig, who is styled the king of Garthmadryn, by which is conceived to be meant the present county of Brecknock southward of the Eppynt hills.t The genealogy of Tewdrig is carried up to Gwraldeg, king of Garthmadryn, who is computed to have lived about A. D. 230. But here the same process may be detected at work which has been demonstrated in the case of Cadfrawd ab Cadfan and Cynan MeiriadogTwo, if not three pedigrees show that the ancestry of Meirig ab Tewdrig, who lived about A. D. 500, has been given to Tewdrig of Garthmadryn, who must have flourished about A. D. 370. The majority of authorities, it is true, give the older names differently, but they all agree in saying that the father of both the persons named Tewdrig was Teithfallt or Teithffaltim. Notwithstanding the opinion of the historian of

* The Silurian Achau y Saint, and Nennius.

+ According to Nennius, the hundred of Builth, or the northern part of the county was included in the possessions of Vortigern.

| Page 94 of this Essay.

[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed]

N. B. This and the other pedigrees do not contain all the names that might be introduced, but only so many as are

sufficient to determine the era and genealogy of the Saints.

« PrejšnjaNaprej »